Shit, I feel like a caterpillar.

No, wait. Let me rephrase that.

I feel like I’m in the “caterpillar stage.”

What do I mean by that? Well . . . for quite some time, I’ve been going through some weird type of transformation. I certainly don’t feel like myself anymore. Or, rather, who I was a year ago. Back then (and the years before that), I was more energetic, more “on the ball,” more “with it”; I followed and engaged in intelligent conversations with intelligent people; I loved having fun, joking around, making jokes, laughing, smiling, and above all . . . writing.

And then . . . my mother died.

At first, I didn’t feel any different. Was I sad? Sure. She was my mom. I loved my mom, and losing one’s parent isn’t a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. But what I didn’t realize was how much it had actually affected me in the long run, and how parts of myself died with her.

As the months went by after her death, I began to feel a sense of “self” slipping away. Anxiety took root—in a big way. A huge way. I worried about anything and everything, but mostly about my health—or lack thereof. I felt as though issue after issue was cropping up, demanding my attention, demanding that I get this thing checked out and that thing checked out.

And I did. Repeatedly. Believing there was indeed something “off” or “not right” about how I felt. Everything—and I do mean everything—came back perfectly fine (sans my blood glucose levels, of course, being diabetic and all). NOTHING was wrong with me. NOTHING.


Physical, that is.

So why did I (and do I) feel so cruddy all the time?

“Hyperfocusing,” my brother’s called it. Hyperfocusing on all the wrong things. He tells me I’m “watching my gas tank too much.” When we’re on a long trip, it’s good to watch the gas tank, of course, to make sure we don’t run out of gas, but really . . . we’re supposed to focus on driving! And that’s what I’m not doing. Life is that long journey, and instead of “driving” through it like I’m supposed to (duh!), I’m now obsessively “watching the gas tank.”

And that’s exactly what my mother did. She hyperfocused on everything—health issues and all. I remember she used to tell me, “I know there’s something wrong with me, but no one’s listening.” Sure, in her later years she had chronic health issues (which were mainly kept under control), but she’d also developed bad habits I absolutely abhor to this very day and would never, ever—ever—partake of. Ever.

I’m starting to sense that my mom, on top all of her health issues and various bad habits, didn’t quite know how to deal with the natural process of aging. When we age, we start to move more slowly, think less clearly, see less clearly (among many other things). Perhaps she was incapable of moving past “who she was” (in her youth) into accepting “who she’d become” (in her older years)? I’m finding myself at that stage of my own life—I often hear myself saying, “I just want to be who I was a year ago,” or “I feel like there’s something wrong with me . . .” and that no one’s listening.

But you know what? They have. A lot of them have. And physically . . . I’m fine. Great, in fact. Hell, I rock climb—hard—at a local rock wall for goodness’ sake! I’ve set a goal to “climb Mt. Everest” by doing laps (climbing both up and down the rock wall equals one lap), and I’ve done 123 of them at the time of this writing. How could I have something physically wrong with me, if I’m doing intense exercise like that??

Well, shit, of course I’m not going to move as energetically as I used to, not when I participate in rock climbing three times a week. I’m no Spring chicken anymore, so it kind of takes its toll on my arm and leg muscles, though I’m doing pretty damned well if, at 46, I can scale the same rock walls my ten-year-old daughter conquers on a regular basis in her climbing team practice.

For me . . . it’s dealing with the “brain fog” that’s the toughest. Feeling like I can’t connect with the world or hold intelligent conversations with people anymore. Which is, of course, bullshit. Yes, I have brain fog—all the time. But that does happen as we get older, and for various reasons: lack of sleep (apparently we get poorer sleep as we get older), anxiety, diabetes, aging eyes, to name a few . . . the four main culprits I fight with, three on a daily basis: anxiety, diabetes, and aging eyes. I always feel like I’m walking around in a brain-fogged-up fish bowl. And it sucks.

The weird thing? . . . I’ve asked both of my kids and my husband if, while in my “brain foggy” state, I’m acting strange to them, and they’ve all said, unequivocally: “No!” (And my family isn’t good at lying to people. Trust me.)


So where does that leave me?

Stuck in the “caterpillar stage.” Right now, I’m going through many changes in midlife that are throwing me for a loop, tangling my emotions, squashing me, making me feel inadequate and worthless, because “I’m not myself—I’m not how I used to be.”

Well, duh. I’m changing, growing, transforming. Yes, I’m going to be less energetic than my younger counterparts (because of the diabetes, too), less “on the ball,” less “with it” (also because of the diabetes). But does that mean I can’t follow and engage in intelligent conversations? Not necessarily. They’ll just be a bit more “brain fogged” than I’d like. And I can certainly still try to have fun, joke around, make jokes, laugh, smile, and above all . . . write.

Writing was what I missed the most. And, thankfully, this blog post has proven that I can still indeed do that.

So right now, I’m going to have to accept that I’m a caterpillar. Will I like that stage all the time? No. Do I like it now? Hell, no. I hate it. It’s fraught with uncertainty and stressors and all kinds of crap. How long before I transform into a butterfly is unknown, but I can help ease that caterpillar process by taking it easy on myself.

No, I’m not the person I was before, and only God knows who I’m destined to eventually become.

I just need to learn to have some patience. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! It's good to be back. Finally. Lol.

  2. The death of a parent is a hard blow- the first year especially. I've been there when my mother died.

  3. Yeah, it's tough. Really tough. Thank you for understanding. :) And thank you for visiting my blog! You're always a reader, William, no matter how long between my posts. Lol.